OISF is a US nonprofit, a 501c(3). Their goal is to produce a new network inspection and filtering engine (IDS/IPS) that will be released under GPLv2. They can not and will not commercialize, sell, patent, copyright, or profit from the engine. Rather, others who participate in the OISF Consortium (listed on their Web site) are donating coders, equipment, and financial support in exchange for the ability to commercialize the engine.
OISF works with the Open Source Software Institute, famous for getting FIPS validation for OpenSSL -- something everybody wanted but no one wanted to fund alone. OISF is part of the DHS Homeland Open Security Technology (HOST) program. OISF has received legal guidance from the Software Freedom Law Center.
OISF has many goals for their engine, outlined in the notes I linked earlier. Most interesting is their goal for a production release by the end of this year. If they are to make this goal, I think the project needs to severely limit the requirements for the first release. I would focus on the following.
- Developing the rules language.
- Implementing IPv6.
- Implementing multi-threading.
Those three tasks are monumental, but they would immediately differentiate OISF from other options. There is talk within the project of semi-Snort compatible output, so you might send OISF data to a file in Snort Unified or Unified2 format to be read by Barnyard or Barnyard2.
If you want to know more about the project, the Mailing Lists are the best option. As it develops I will discuss it here.